I find myself deeply saddened and even grieving. We have been exposed again by COVID 19. Last night on the news I watched a frustrated Aussie shopper spit on the poor shop manager and rip at the woman’s wristwatch because she had been made to wait. I couldn’t believe it.
As the news rolled on, this was just one case among so many. Already people have been spitting on nurses, doctors, pharmacists, paramedics and police. Pause on that for a moment. People are in hospitals or pharmacies because they need help. And, horrifically, they decide to spit on those who are trying to care for them. People are spitting on their saviours.
People are in hospitals or pharmacies because they need help. And, horrifically, they decide to spit on those who are trying to care for them. People are spitting on their saviours.
Spitting toward someone, not even at them, is a huge personal insult. ‘I think of you like this piece of phlegm I have to clear from my throat.’ ‘You are nothing to me and I despise you.’ ‘You are like a foul thing in my mouth’. And now spitting, in the days of COVID 19 seems to say something far worse. I wish you dead.
Jesus said, ‘Out of the overflow of the mouth the heart speaks.’ He was pointing to the profound connection between what we say and what is in our hearts. When you listen to our speech with its insults, its envy, its self-serving lies (otherwise known as white lies), you are peering inside a person’s heart. The heart brings up thoughts, desires and beliefs and they burst out of our mouths.
So, what does it say about the human heart that the overflow is spit? And what does it say when one person thinks another person deserves their phlegm?
I’m guessing you are just as horrified as me. And the defence that we wish to rush to is that we would never do anything like that. This group of spitters is just a small subsection of a small subsection of our society. It isn’t us.
But crack open your community Facebook page. Scroll the comments of almost any amateur YouTube post. Listen in at the next backyard BBQ to the friendly Aussie banter, when we can finally have them. You’ll read, hear and speak words that expose our hearts. Because this person’s opinion is different or their actions thwarted us, we despise them. They aren’t important or valuable. They are phlegm, in our view.
You’ll also hear sexual perversion and objectification, greed, hatred, lust and adultery, lies, envy, denigration, arrogance and stupidity. And most of this will be about other people. Foul words will flow.
It is us. It is humanity. We spit on others. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks and spits.
When Jesus walked among us, 2000 years ago, we loved his help. He restored a man born blind by using his spit to make a healing mud. But when Jesus made his claim to be our ruler, we, humanity, responded to him was by spitting on him and then we killed him. It is no surprise that one was soon followed by the other. For once we’ve decided that someone ought to be spat on, they are less than nothing, like a foul thing, then death is a very small next step. We spat on the one who came to save us and then we killed him.
But the twist in the story is that we were spitting on our saviour. Jesus came, God in the flesh, to rescue us from our foul hearts. And, he came to save us from the judgement we deserve for the way we treat others. He did this by being rejected. He did this by being spat on. He did this, ultimately, by dying and facing and receiving God’s just judgement on those who spit on others. He did this so spitters could be forgiven.
Jesus came, God in the flesh, to rescue us from our foul hearts … He did this by being spat on, by dying and facing and receiving God’s just judgement on those who spit on others.
COVID 19 has revealed a lot of things to us already. It has revealed to us that we cannot live without comfort – that’s what the run (pun intended) on toilet paper was all about. It has exposed to us our fear of death. It has exposed to us that we are not masters of our fate, nor truly captains of our destiny. And it has exposed to us our hearts.
We, humanity, are sinners in desperate need of a saviour. We need Jesus. We need a saviour who will save our hearts and cleanse them from the inside out. Our hearts are exposed by COVID 19. Will we come to Jesus with our foul hearts or will we keep them locked down?
First published at risenchurch.org.au